DESCRIPTION: This Tool offers a design for a local or area EPF gathering that may function as a first step toward forming a new Chapter. It includes ideas for reaching out to fellow peacemakers and a format for that important first meeting.
POTENTIAL OUTCOMES: Organizing for peacemaking builds up power in action. Peacemakers sustain one another with prayer and inspiration. Making common cause with other groups taps into a network of resources and experience.
WHO CAN BENEFIT: Individual peacemakers, parishes, dioceses, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, related peace groups
SUPPLIES YOU MAY NEED: meeting room; tables & chairs; cutlery, plates, beverages, cups, etc.; newsprint & markers; EPF materials from national office; copies of BCP
COST ESTIMATE: $20? for supplies
NUTS & BOLTS:
Gather the group: send invitations and information about the event two months ahead. Send to diocesan news outlets, parish offices for inclusion in bulletins and newsletters, contact lists and friends who are interested in peacemaking. Resend the invitation one month later, in the same or different format. Here is a sample letter of invitation:
“Guide the people of this land, and of all nations, in the ways of justice and peace; that we may honor one another and serve the common good.” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 388)
Dear Friend of the Prince of Peace,
On behalf of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship I invite you (and friends) to an area gathering of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship to be held at ______________ on ____________ at __ pm. The setting is an informal pot luck meal among people who are spiritually oriented toward nonviolence and peacemaking. We will get acquainted and learn about several new resources and possibilities to strengthen individuals and parishes in their witness to the ways of justice and peace.
Bring something tasty to share along with a favorite quote or passage about peace. I hope to see you then.
Blessed are the peace makers!
Directions and Contact Info:
Take a look at the evolving EPF website WWW.EPFNATIONAL.ORG.
Prepare the site:
Set up the meeting room with EPF materials, posters, any books or articles you wish to share. Set up a table for pot luck offerings and a table or two for participants to enjoy a meal together. Set up a sign-in table with name tags and a sign-up sheet for names, email, phone, etc. of participants.
A welcoming gathering:
- Invite people to a seat and welcome everyone. Ask each person to introduce themselves. Devote 5 minutes to asking people to pick out someone they know least well in the room and tell one another why they are drawn to peacemaking and nonviolence.
- The leader blesses the food and gathering, and invites people to fill a plate and eat. (15 minutes)
- Newsprint Exercise: ‘Short answers to big questions’ : responding to a posted list of the Action Areas of EPF [see EPF Action Groups on our Website]
“Of the Action Areas of EPF, which one or two are closest to your heart? (Tabulate the “votes” on the newsprint list if you like.)
“How would you prioritize the Action Areas in descending order of your preference?”
“What favorite quote or scriptural passage helps you keep your focus on peacemaking?”
“How might this group network with Episcopal Peace and Justice Network, EPF and/or regional peace organizations for support and action?”
“Could we sponsor a Peace Action or Vigil, or a Youth Peace Retreat or a Quiet Day?”
“Could we plan a gathering in 4 months for Pot Luck, prayers for peace and a focus on one or two of the priority action areas we named earlier?
Would one or two of you like to work up a 15 minute presentation on one issue or, perhaps, invite someone to speak to us? Or would you like to look at the next issue of the Episcopal Peace Witness and discuss it? Might we look toward forming/boosting an official Chapter of EPF and what that might entail? Other thoughts?
- Make plans to stay in touch. Ask participants for permission to circulate the sign-in information among themselves.
- Announce any upcoming events/opportunities for peacemaking. Ask others for announcements, as well.
- Closing Prayers: try using the BCP petitions, top of page 385 and 386, middle of 387, 388, 390. Encourage each participant to pray for the person to their left tonight before they sleep. Conclude with prayer at bottom of 823.
Once you have five national members and want to become an ‘official’ EPF chapter please fill out the Chapter Application and mail it to EPF, 2045 West Grand Ave, Ste B #40058, Chicago, IL. 60612-1577.
Establish a connection to the Episcopal Peace Fellowship National Office in Chicago. Melanie Merkle Atha, exec. director, can supply lists of EPF members and friends near you.